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Old 11-23-2010, 04:05 PM   #1
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Awning blew off

Just pulled into Newmar and there are maybe four coaches in the parking lot. I have a service scheduled for Monday and wasn't going to arrive until the weekend, but during my drive from the west coast encountered some strong winds and it tore my main awning completely off my motorhome while driving down I-80. The awning swept over the top of my motorhome, tore off the cover to my power vent in the bathroom, and landed in the center divider. Thank goodness no other vehicles were nearby.

I headed to the factory early to get an insurance estimate and parts ordered, so everything can completed at one time.
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Old 11-23-2010, 05:46 PM   #2
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Hi washbob,
Please tell us more about the awning mishap. Which coach do you have? What awning did you have? Power awning or manual? Anything you can say about the direction of the wind would be helpful. We need to learn from you experience.
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Old 11-24-2010, 05:57 AM   #3
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I have a 2005 Dutch Star 4320. The awning is an A&E weather pro power awning. As for the wind direction, I would say it was pretty much broadside. It was coming toward the passenger side. I later learned that they had reported 50 mph wind gusts in the area. I was traveling about 60 mph and heard no flapping noise or anything that would suggest the awning was catching air. All at once I heard a noise and caught sight of my awning flying through the air into the center divider, along with pieces of the bathroom power vent cover.

I was not concerned with the wind that day, but perhaps will in the future. I was on the road with other motorhomes, trailers, tractor trailers and other high profile vehicles. I wish I knew exactly what caused the awning to catch air and be completely torn off, I'm just guessing that the right wind gust at the right angle caused it.

I talked with the tow company representative who responded to my good sam road assistance call to help secure what was left of the awning mounting frame and he stated that they respond to 30-40 calls like mine each year. I was traveling eastbound on I-80 in the Elk Mountain general area, about 30 miles west of Laramie.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:03 AM   #4
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Hi washbob,
Thanks for the update. It is kind of scary that there was no warning and the wind, that day did not bother you.
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Old 11-24-2010, 09:46 AM   #5
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I had a similar experience coming out of Moab Utah just west of the entrance to Arches Nat'l Park. No warning and a gust of wind maybe 30 MPH. The shaft on the drive motor snapped allowing the awning to open. I have since that time installed an awning lock on the aft end of the awning. It has a shaft that slips into the roller (a hole I drilled for the installation). I now feel a little more comfortable when driving in the wind, but get off the road when high winds.
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Old 11-24-2010, 11:53 AM   #6
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I have read that it isn't possible, for a power awning to "blow out". Just "shows to go you" that you can't always trust what dealers tell you. That's why I installed an awning lock on mine.....for peace of mind.
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:15 PM   #7
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Washbob

would be very interested in hearing more after all is said and done, if there is any more info as to why this happened. I have exactly the same setup as you on my coach. last year returning to California from Quartzsite AZ, one on my awning was coming out not the weather pro but a window shade awning. looked in the rear view mirror and saw it coming out and going back in. found out later that one of the springs that rewind it broke, easy fix by the way. but the wind at the time was blowing about 60MPH and raining hard, so hard in fact that when I stopped at a truck and hide behind a 18 wheeler, It blew my 7ft step ladder over and I'm using the trailer of the 18 wheeler
to shelter me from the blowing rain. What I did was drill a small hole in the rewind mecanisium and tapped a screw and tried all of the awning shut. BUT my weather Pro did not come open and I was very concerened about that. when I had my springs replaced I found out how to lock the rewind spring so to stop this kinda of thing happening again in heavy winds. I worry more about my 4 solar panels blowing off than the awnings, I have seen a fellow RV wrestle with a loose awning around Palm Springs and its not fun.

keep us posted if you find out anything more about the cause
Ron
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Old 11-24-2010, 12:45 PM   #8
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When I was negotiating with Dometic (A&E) and Newmar on replacement of my awning and repair of damaged fiberglass and paint the Tech support people at Dometic stated the only way a power awning would open by wind was if the gears stripped or the motor shaft broke. The only thing I recovered from my incident happened to be the motor...with a broken shaft. After about 6 weeks of negotiating... photos at a dealership, more discussion, then shipping motor to Dometic for verification they stepped up and replaced awning and struts. Newmar took care of fiberglass and paint.
I added the awning lock because I know that a shaft will snap and peace of mind allows me to concentrate on driving in windy conditions. When I'm parked just need to use awning rod to disengage the lock and engage when departing.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:04 PM   #9
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Hi all,
I have the same awning this thread is talking about. Y'all are mentioning an awning lock. Please help this fellow member and provide information on the lock that was purchased. My Christmas wish is for something simple to install and operate. (I'm getting too old for buttons and ladders).
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:06 PM   #10
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Right after I got my coach I was on I-95 in Connectuit, on a windy day, I looked in the pax side mirror and saw my awning come out a bit (about a foot). I told the wife to touch the awning switch and hold it in the "retract" position. I was now slowing down in the slow lane and, of course, she pushed the "extend" button position. After a few choice words (from me) as I was pulling off into the breakdown lane, we had a heart to heart discussion. No damage was done. Her reply to me was "I didn't have my glasses on"--! I paid for what I said to her for a year, I think-.

Now (for years) I get the ladder out, and put two small, long, velcro straps around the awning motor (front edge) to the upper support bracket. It works super.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:27 PM   #11
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Gary, go to...awninglock.com for info on the lock that I bought and installed in about an hour and I'm not that swift when it comes to do it yourself.
There is a write up and photos at this site. I also spoke to the fellow whose number is listed a couple of times before I bought just to make sure it would work on the A&E Power Awning and a follow up quetion on where on the awning brace to drill the holes (2 required plus 1 hole in the roller)
Any other questions let me know...after your help so many times makes me feel good to give you info.
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Old 11-24-2010, 02:51 PM   #12
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Old 11-24-2010, 03:41 PM   #13
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Unfortunately I'm not going to be able to provide any information on why my awning gave out. It was completely torn off and is in the center divider in Wyoming. Newmar gave me an estimate today for the replacement of the awning, mounting hardware and repair of power vent cover. All told with labor almost $3,000. I sent the estimate to my insurance company and ordered the parts, so it can be repaired next week.

I was under the belief as well that power awnings are safe. I normally don't drive in extremely windy conditions. I'm definitely going to consider some of the options discussed (awning lock or velcro strap), just to be on the safe side. I do not want to experience this again.
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Old 11-24-2010, 04:36 PM   #14
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Awful situation for you

There must be a simpler way to lock the Electric Dometic Awning than have to buy some piece from another Company - link above

Tie-Raps do wonders if you know where to place them

Right now my passenger door awning (2006 DSDP) is tie-rapped while I am waiting for the replacement of the gear - just in case the wind does its tricks - 3 big white tie-raps and the awning is shut ( rolled the tissue manually without difficulty) . It would be safe to take the rig to the road but I am in a RV Resort in Florida and not on a rush - the Dometic piece (under $100) is on the way -

So where to put the Tie-Raps on the big Awning over the kitchen
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